Most people would not expect a 13-year-old computer to function properly, yet Illinois has allowed its voting technology to become just as obsolete, said Sarah Brune, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. The nonprofit political advocacy group is working with Illinois officials to raise awareness of the state’s aging voting equipment and the need for new voting machines. Some voting jurisdictions are still using floppy disks, and election administrators have to search the internet for replacement parts, according to Brune. The last time Chicago purchased voting equipment was in 2005, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. While the current system has not had security issues, new equipment would improve election transparency and auditing processes. Suburban Cook County is in need of an update too, he added.
“We’ve been through recounts with this current system, and it has always been accurate,” Allen said. “We haven’t had any elections overturned with the current system, even close elections, yet there is a much higher level of confidence that poll workers, voters and those observing elections could have with newer equipment.”
With security enhancements, new voting equipment would be less work for everyone involved, Allen said, adding that a voting system needs to be seen as valid by both determined winners and losers of elections.